A tin of Cadbury chocolates made in Birmingham in 1902 sold for £1,000 at auction
Cadbury chocolates made in Birmingham in 1902 to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra have fetched £1,000 in an auction
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The sweet treats were given to Mary Ann Blackmore when she was nine years old to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on June 26, 1902. Special tins of Cadbury’s vanilla chocolates were made to mark the occasion and both monarchs feature on the tin alongside the date.
Mary’s chocolates remained untouched due to “generations of self restraint” and were found in their original tin by her family when she died aged 96 in 1988. They went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers, in Etwall, Derbyshire, yesterday (Tuesday, July 25) with a guide price of between £100-£150.
But they smashed their estimate to sell for £1,000 to a British expat following a bidding war between people in the UK, India, USA and Spain. The buyer, Mark Harrison, who now lives in Alicante, said: “My family and I are royalists. We flew over to London for King Charles’ Coronation just to get a glimpse of the royal family. I feel I am buying a piece of history.
"The box of chocolates are extremely rare and unique. I really wanted to win the auction and was absolutely delighted when I did. I’m lucky and blessed to own them and I would like to assure the seller that they will be treasured by me and my family. ”
The gift was given to Mary by her Durham school and she treasured them as a royal memento for her entire life. Mary’s granddaughter Jean Thompson, 72, said: “I’m not sure if the chocolates were given to my grandmother as a prize at school or if every pupil received one.
“Though her family originated from Cornwall, Mary Ann, was born in Sunniside, north west Durham, and spent all her life there. I think the chocolate was regarded as too special to eat, maybe due to generations of self restraint. I was aware of it as a child as something special, an object of curiosity from my nana’s childhood.
"By that time there was no question of eating it, which I guess is why I’ve kept it. None of my children are interested in keeping it, so with coronations being a topical subject it came to mind that a more appreciative home could be found with a collector of such items.”
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “We had a crazy amount of interest in this century-old chocolate. Emails were coming in from all over the world. It’s an astonishing result. The royal memento and the reason it survived melted hearts. These days, chocolates are lucky to last a day in most homes, let alone 121 years."
He added: “When people had very little they treasured things we take for granted today. The chocolates were inside an old chest of drawers. When you opened the tin, you could still smell the chocolate. The tin bears its original Cadbury’s vanilla chocolate label and wrapped over the chocolate and silver foil is a King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra Coronation label. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate as we know it today was not introduced until 1905. You can see from the label that Mary was given vanilla chocolates.”
Cadbury was founded in 1824 in Birmingham by John Cadbury (1801–1889), a Quaker who sold tea, coffee and drinking chocolate. The company was granted its first royal warrant from Queen Victoria in 1854. It held a royal warrant from Elizabeth II from 1955 to 2022.